Friday, March 13, 2015

life is sad and beautiful

A neurosurgeon dying of cancer, to his less than a year old daughter:

"When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing."

read the rest here

Thursday, January 22, 2015



Now that January is nearly over, let's jump right in and talk about Christmas in a series of paragraphs with zero well-written transitions:

We spent a couple of weeks in Utah visiting family, plus a night in Vegas seeing a Cirque du Soleil show and eating amazing steak. There was so much good food and laser tag, nerf gun wars, and little nieces. Also, catching up with old friends, "working out at the rec center", game playing, book reading, movie watching, and ukulele learning. Plus, watching my brother's rock band crush it at a battle of the bands. And! We saw the Hoover Dam, how about that? 

To elaborate on a few of those topics: 

I'm now obsessed with Brandon Sanderson books after reading The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. I'm currently working my way through the Mistborn books (currently on The Well of Ascension and I CAN'T PUT IT DOWN. It's causing some strain on my marriage. Sorry Aaron.). Can someone else please read all of these books and then come to my house so we can talk about how much we like Kaladin and Vin and wish we were surgebinders or allomancers? Also related to reading, I read Amy Poehler's book (thank you thank you Amanda!), and I liked it! Have you read it? 

Abby (my youngest sister) taught me how to play the ukulele, and although I sound very plunky, it was super fun. I want a ukulele for my birthday now so I can sing and play all the Ingrid Michaelson songs I want (which will also probably cause marital problems). 

We got to meet our newest niece Bailee and also got to go to her baby blessing, which was neat. She is so precious and tiny. Our other nieces Brook and Brielle kept us very entertained with plenty of games and Taylor Swift dance parties ("shaky off!"). 

Aaron and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary by trying a new restaurant before we left on vacation, Little Nonna's. It's owned by the same people/has the same head chef as one of our other favorites (Barbuzzo), and it was excellent. But the best part was they gave us not one, not two, but THREE free desserts for enduring sitting near the door. We didn't even complain, the hostess just walked over and said, "Thanks for dealing with the cold! Dessert's on us!" That's one way to make sure we will love you forever and come back. So go to Little Nonna's if you're ever in Philly, for the best meatballs of your life and fantastic service. 

I fell asleep while watching The Hobbit #3.

We got an immersion blender for Christmas, and it is slowly changing my life. Things like homemade refried beans and pureed soups no longer seem impossibly inconvenient to make because I don't have to pull out a massive blender from the top shelf of my cabinet and deal with cleaning all the pieces afterward. Hallelujah! 


Brielle wasn't sure this photo was something she wanted to participate in.

LASERTAG! My favorite of all active activities. 

Hoover Dam!

Thanks to our families for the gifts and making our trip wonderful! How was your break? Are you going to start reading all of Brandon Sanderson's books now? Have you already?! Are you a ukulele superstar? I want to know! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

recommended: interstellar + smith kids

I think I've sort of forgotten how to do this. Let's ease myself back into blogging, shall we, with a post about not much. Two things you should look into:

Recommendation #1

Aaron and I saw Interstellar this weekend, and I loved it. The last hour got a little hokey, and sure, it was odd that they needed massive amounts of fuel to escape earth's gravity, but could zip off any other planet they wanted no problem even when the gravity was greater than earth's, but MAN. I am still thinking about that movie three days later, and that has to mean something. Some things I loved in no particular order: the music, the massive wave planet, the visual effects all-around, the fact that all the main characters are scientists or engineers and it's a female scientist who figures everything out and spoiler alert saves everyone, the idea of time as a villain, the general caliber of acting, and again, the music. Didn't know I was an organ fan until I saw this movie!

Recommendation #2

Have you guys read this interview* with Willow and Jaden Smith? It is out of control. Seriously, who are these kids? They are INSANE.

An excerpt to whet your appetite:

I'm curious about your experience of time. Do you feel like life is moving really quickly? Is your music one way to sort of turn it over and reflect on it?
WILLOW: I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that's how I know it doesn't exist.
JADEN: It's proven that how time moves for you depends on where you are in the universe. It's relative to beings and other places. But on the level of being here on earth, if you are aware in a moment, one second can last a year. And if you are unaware, your whole childhood, your whole life can pass by in six seconds. But it's also such a thing that you can get lost in.
WILLOW: Because living.
JADEN: Right, because you have to live. There's a theoretical physicist inside all of our minds, and you can talk and talk, but it's living.
WILLOW: It's the action of it.

wut? The whole thing is like that, it's amazing.

So there you go, Interstellar and interviews with crazy celebrity children. What do you have to recommend to me?

*Guess you're going to have to google it, because I can't get around the New York Times login page to get a link. UGH. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

a little party never killed nobody

Oh my poor, neglected blog. Someday I will stop doing travel itineraries and actually write something substantial, but today is not that day!

My sister Becky got married this August, and I got to fly out to Utah for it. I decided having siblings (or siblings-in-law in the case of my sister-in-law Rachel from last year) get married is kind of a weird feeling. A happy feeling, of course, but also a little bit like, hey! that is my family member and  I'm not so sure I want to share her with this other family. I imagine it's worse when it's your own kid. (Or maybe you're just really relieved they found someone to marry...okay, I don't know what I'm talking about.) Anyway, I really, really like Becky's husband and his family, but still. Family weddings seem to give me a weird mix of happiness/nostalgia/slight sense of loss.

Mostly though, this wedding was just a lot of fun.

There were gumballs in the bouquet and men in bow ties and cookies and milk at the reception and massive dance partying and striped paper straws and a giant gold sequin backdrop! AND a Tribe/Andrus family band performance complete with backup dancers! AND a twitter hastag! #beckyandstew

Despite whatever initial weirdly possessive wedding feelings I had, I couldn't be happier for these guys. They are a perfect fit and are probably the most fun couple to hang out with in the whole world. I wish they were my neighbors so we could dance party every night or maybe make some grilled cheeses.

Congratulations, Becky and Stewart!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

nothing like a mild hurricane to spice up your beach vacation

We spent a week at the beach in North Carolina with Aaron's family a little while ago. My in-laws really know how to vacation. Every day we ate super great food, hung out at the beach, read books, and played games. Aaron and I loved getting to play with our nieces who are growing up waaaay too quickly between visits. Punctuating this lovely bit of relaxation were fireworks on the beach for the 4th of July and Hurricane Arthur. The hurricane was just the right amount of excitement without anything bad happening. There were crazy winds and rain, mild house shaking, a few hours without electricity, ocean swelling right up to the sand dunes protecting the house from flooding, and then no damage, except for a couple of screens in the porch being blown out.

Let's all take a moment to appreciate the fact that I ate fish every night for a week and was loving the heck out of it. If that's not life progress, I don't know what is.

Did you want to see some iPhone photos? It's like I don't even own another camera anymore: 

Brook amassed an impressive seashell collection.

The 4th of July sparklers I made Aaron buy

beach frisbee

A few hours before the hurricane set in

Thanks, Mark and Wendy! We had a blast!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

andrus children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked...and walked

Last week my youngest sisters, Jenny and Abby, came to visit. They were wonderful guests-always enthusiastic about everything and very easy to entertain, even when we made them walk 12 miles around DC all day Saturday. They also did not complain when I made them hang out in my lab for two hours during group meeting I had to attend, so you know, they are the best.

We ate a lot of delicious things: we tried every fancy donut from Federal Donuts, ate halal chicken on rice from a food truck near campus, got gelato at Capogiro, ate at Honey's, had ice cream at Franklin Fountain, did a rooftop barbecue with burgers, grilled vegetables/pineapple and homemade mac n cheese, ate funfetti chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, had cheesesteaks at Jim's, made carnitas with cilantro lime rice, got pizza from Wise Guy in DC.

The worst thing we ate was the cafe in the Natural History Smithsonian. It was annoying, not only because it was ridiculously overpriced, but also because just down the street were a million food trucks that smelled incredible, were half the price and probably twice as good. I have sworn off museum food for now, unless it's the American Indian Smithsonian cafeteria.

Also, basically my beach diet is shot. It was worth it.

We got to see a lot of neat things in our whirlwind tour of DC. The highlights for me were the chocolate tasting, Julia Child's kitchen, and the star-spangled banner in the American History Smithsonian, and the Dom Pedro aquamarine in the Natural History Smithsonian. The chocolate tasting was part of the Flag Day celebration (have no idea why those two connect, but I'm not complaining), and I learned a lot about how chocolate is made, which was fascinating. It was also really cool to see Julia Child's kitchen, since cooking is my only hobby these days (unless you count mindless Pinterest browsing I suppose). The Star-Spangled Banner exhibit is really well done. They have the [massive] flag all layed out, and the whole room is dark to help preserve it. Above the flag are the lyrics to the national anthem, and it was really moving. I'm usually not overly patriotic, but man, if you don't come out of that room loving America there's probably something wrong with you.

I've been waiting over a year now to see the Dom Pedro after reading an NPR article about it (oh man, I'm a nerd), and it surpassed my expectations. It's the world's largest aquamarine, which also happens to be my birthstone and my favorite color, and it was gorrrrrrgeous. Yay pretty rocks! Yay inorganic chemistry!

While in Philly, we hit up the historical stuff: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross's house, Ben Franklin's grave. We also went to Eastern State Penitentiary, the Chemical Heritage Museum (look what fun you can have when I'm your tour guide), and got stuck in major rainstorms and sought refuge in CVS twice. We love CVS! Also featured on this trip: H&M $5 flower leggings. Guys, I kind of think leggings actually are pants. #sendhelp

I loved having my sisters here. Come back soon! We have more things to eat! :)

baby LOVE statue on Penn campus

Dom Pedro + Abby's reflection

ice cream truck!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

life elevated

Last weekend I took a quick trip to Utah for my grandpa's wedding. It was WONDERFUL. Here's why:

corn dogs and waffles bought from trucks, and also winning a water bottle and socks from a raffle while in line at said trucks

free hipster zebra Provo City-promoting t-shirts at the Rooftop Concert

hanging with Kellie and my mustache-waxed brother at aforementioned concert (not wonderful: SAMMY'S. Ugh, Provo, why do you like this place?)

seeing my aunt kill it at Women's Conference with an awesome talk that made everyone laugh and cry and laugh some more. I'm still pondering what she taught a week later.

eating good Mexican food

playing games at the park with the whole fam + bonus Tribe boys!

fantastic sandwich with delicious barbecue sauce at Cubby's

going on morning walks with my mom

reading Divergent and Insurgent (I like, mostly. We should talk about this.)

Nickelcade with my in-laws and seeing my little nieces. Brielle can say my name! I will be forever known as "Cakies" now.

chatting with some of my oldest and dearest friends, Kim and Jody

final night Rummikub-a-thon and sleepover with all my sisters

and of course, the main event, my reason for going to Utah: my grandpa's wedding. He played the piano (which he happens to be unbelievably good at) while serenading his new bride (I'm not sure that I have ever heard him sing before in my life and it was fantastic).

Oh, did you want to see some photos? OF COURSE YOU DO!

Brielle! We had a good time playing some skeeball.

 Bubbles at the park: fun for two year olds and twenty-three year olds

 Nice form, Jen. That's some quality boules playing.

 Rummikub's not fair.

 Eat at Cubby's, not at Sammy's.

 Keeping it classy by matchy matching.

Grandpa is married!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

more tall candles

Sorry the last post was kind of a bummer. I am really grateful for everyone's texts/cards/facebook messages/calls, etc., and I didn't mean to minimize that! I love hearing from everyone on my birthday. And I still had the birthday cards displayed on my bookcase until last night, when I replaced them with Aaron's birthday cards because he turned 27 yesterday!

Aaron made his own birthday cake and frosting this year. It was the same cake and frosting for my birthday that we just can't get enough of (recipe here, we subbed water for coffee and it is still insanely chocolatey goodness). We also ordered Chinese takeout, watched a bunch of episodes of "Chuck", and Aaron worked on his puzzle. You can count on us for a wild night.

With spring weather finally FINALLY here, a quick trip to Utah planned for my grandpa's wedding, and dissertation committee meetings (me) and board exams (Aaron) out of the way, life is looking up. This winter was really hard, and though not a ton has fundamentally changed, I feel better about things. Amazing what 60 degree weather can do for you.

Enjoy your weekend!